The 20 African youngsters with the most potential

FT Desk
FT Desk
  • 13 Nov 2022 05:49 CST
  • 4 min read
Wilfried Singo in action for Torino.
© ProShots

The African continent has produced some of the game's greatest players, such as Samuel Eto'o, Didier Drogba and Mohamed Salah.

Liberian president George Weah even won the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1995 shortly after moving from PSG to AC Milan as one of the sport's deadliest strikers.

Article continues under the video

Some African-born players have elected to play for other countries in recent years. Real Madrid midfielder Eduardo Camavinga, for example, was born in Angola but now represents France internationally.

READ: Sadio Mane, Drogba and the top 10 Africans in Premier League history

Few would describe French World Cup winner Patrick Vieira as an African footballing legend although he was born in Senegal, and by that rationale, those who have switched allegiance to European nations are not included in this list.

— Viaplay Sports UK (@ViaplaySportsUK) January 3, 2021

The highest-rated player is Wilfried Singo, the Ivorian right-back who plies his trade with Torina in Italy's Serie A. The 21-year-old is twice capped by his country, and has been attracting Barcelona's interest in recent months.

Côte d'Ivoire are set to have an impressive defence for a generation, with Bayer Leverkusen centre-back Odilon Kossounou the next highest-rated player with a SciSports potential of 114.3 to Singo's 118.6.

READ: Revealed: The three right-backs on Barcelona's transfer shortlist

Issa Kaboré is the top-ranked non-Ivorian on the list. The Burkinabé right-back is owned by English champions Manchester City but currently on loan with Marseille in Ligue 1.

Most of the top 20 most promising African youngsters have already made their way to European football. Even Senegalese centre-back Mamadou Fall, owned by LAFC, is on loan at Villarreal in Spain.

Ilaix Moriba was eligible for Spain, but the former Barcelona midfielder, now own by RB Leipzig and on loan at Valencia, made his Guinea debut in January.

All of the players on this list are aged 21 or less.

PlayerParent ClubPotential SciSports Skill
1. Wilfried SingoTorino118.6
2. Odilon KossounouLeverkusen114.3
3. Issa KaboreMan City107.2
4. Ilaix MoribaLeipzig105.3
5. Abdallah SimaBrighton104.0
6. Felix Afena-GyanCremonese103.9
7. Kamaldeen SulemanaRennes101.6
8. Pape Mate SarrTottenham101.0
9. El Bilal ToureAlmeria99.6
10. Dion LopyReims98.0
11. Lassina TraoreShakhtar97.4
12. Isak AbdulrazakAnderlecht95.7
13. Olakunle OlusegunKrasnodar95.1
14. Raphael OnyedikaBrugge93.8
15. Mamadou FallLAFC92.8
16. Benie TraoreHacken92.0
17. Datro FofanaMolde91.9
18. Adamo NagaloNordsjaelland91.7
19. Forson AwankwahSalzburg91.3
20. Oumar TraoreAl Jazeera91.0

How is the SciSkill ranking calculated?

SciSports explains how our development ratings are gathered:

"Among others, a positive development could be boosted by more playing time, playing time on a higher level or better performances on the pitch.

"A negative development could be due to the player being active on a lower level than he used to play, bad performances or the fact that he does not play that often as he used to do.

"A SciSkill Development of 0.0 could indicate that a player is performing exactly like our algorithm expects him to do. Another reason could be inactivity (e.g. a long-term injury or suspension)."

Don’t miss the next big transfer!

Get the latest transfer insights and analyses directly in your mailbox.